Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Thom Kofoed, self portrait


Words by Thom Kofoed.

I’ve never really believed in the afterlife because it is airy and I believe in things that I can hold in my hand; like a cup or a skipping rope or another hand. I believe in the stars, because even though I can’t hold them, I can see them. And even though they’re not actually shining when I can see them, even though they burned out long before I was born, I believe in the stars because bits of them have fallen onto the earth, and now they are in museums. There is no afterlife in museums. Only bits of lives pinned to walls after they’ve happened, because everyone is afraid of being forgotten.

The afterlife then is just a cosmic comfort blanket. Something people hold onto so they can fall into that final sleep without the worry that there is nothing left; that they are falling and will just keep on falling. The afterlife is another lie to make the life before fine.

I told you this last Thursday, when you got home from work and you said you’d read something on the train in a free newspaper. About a lady who believed her husband spoke to her through their house, even though he was dead and he died of a heart attack two years before. She said that she found his gold chain on his armchair even though she kept it on her bedside table. She said that once a picture of him fell down from a corkboard and landed inside her purse. And you said that if you die first you will come back with a message for me to find, and that if I die first you want me to do the same. I said that I don’t believe in the afterlife because I believe in things that I can hold in my hand, and you opened your mouth as if to speak but then you didn’t speak.

And then afterwards you stood at the sink washing a cup and said to the window, although you were really saying it to me, “I can’t believe you would say that. Don’t you think our love will last forever?” And even though I knew I shouldn’t, because I could see that your face was burning though I could only see the back of your head, I said “Nope. When we die, the love dies with us.” And I tried to make my voice sound wishy washy like I was singing, so that even though I was being serious you might not think I was. But you dropped the cup then, turned from the sink and dried your hands on the tea towel slung over the handle of the grill, and you were crying.

I didn’t get why you were crying and I turned on the radio because it was next to me. It was playing a song that sounded like the noise your tears would make if they had little mouths. And you just stood there, leaning up against the sink, with the tea towel swaying in your hands like curtains.

This piece is from ‘Home’, part of the Celebrate The Mountains series, written and produced by Thom Kofoed and John Murray. Sign up as a subscriber (using the above link) to receive more of their writing and artwork.

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Posted 14:25 Thursday, Nov 16, 2017 In: New writing

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